My parents originally come from San Nicandro Garganico, a village in the province of Foggia in Apullia. They left Italy because there was no work, as was the case for many immigrants in the 1950s. When they arrived in France, my father found work in the coal mines.
I was born in 1970, into a loving Christian family, one of eight children and was educated in the things of God. Our house was known as "the house of God". Everyone called it that. Growing up, however, I began to get in with some friends who gradually took me in search of fun and pleasure. Together with them, I signed up for a Thai boxing club, whose instructor had been world champion. Impressed by his track record, I also had the ambition to become champion, and I trained almost every day. Thanks to my quick progress, I was chosen for various matches in France and Belgium. But after a while, disillusioned by the behaviour of some of the judges after a corrupt competition in Paris, I made the decision to quit competitions. I started going to nightclubs and all sort of clubs, trying to have as much fun as possible with my friends.
At the age of 24, thinking about my future, I began to study to become an estate agent. Things seemed to be going well for me: a job in a well-known agency and money in my pocket! Two years later, during an evening out celebrating the acquisition of a property, I met a girl and fell in love with her. A few months later we got married. Marjorie gave birth to our daughter, but life at home soon became complicated. My wife had got back in touch with some old friends who had not been a good influence on her. Communication broke down between us and we separated for a while.
Some time later, during a meal with work colleagues, a friend was boasting that she could predict the future. Without really knowing what serious consequences this kind of thing can have * I agreed for her to do a card reading for me. She told me I would have lots of worldly goods yet at the same time, there was one particular card that she didn't want to explain to me, though she finally admitted I would lose someone dear to me.
A week later my wife was found dead. After the body had been identified and the story had even made the local papers, one of my acquaintances received a phone call from someone who lived thirty or so kilometres from us. She said that her two daughters, returning late from a youth meeting in their church, had found the body of a young lady who had been in an accident. After having phoned for help, they had decided to kneel and pray. One of them had just completed a seminar on how to support people in difficulty, so she was able to find the right words during Marjorie's last moments.
Her sudden death was terrible for our daughter and me. Sad and completely discouraged, I threw myself into work to try and block out the pain. Time passed, I opened my own agency and started to earn a lot of money, which I invested in property, but also in fast cars such as Porsche and Ferrari F 355, which were my passion. Apart from my daughter, I only lived for cars.
One day one of my brothers, asked me: "David, if you were to die, do you know where your soul would go?" This question troubled me, because I had already come close to death on several occasions in traffic accidents; he had touched a nerve, I was scared of death. My brothers and sisters were living happily walking with God, whereas I was unhappy, and what is more, I was going through difficult times because of the behaviour of some of my clients and colleagues who had become jealous of my success in business. One of these reported me to the police, saying I was part of a mafia network and I was arrested without proof, just on a whim! All the accusations were false, but I recognised my mistakes in management and the incompetence of certain employees nevertheless. Before being released, they put me under observation of the guards for two days... Those long hours behind bars allowed me to reflect seriously on my life far away from God, and on what I was reaping. I realised that all I was doing was serving Mammon (the god of money). I particularly realised that I had believed the lie that permeates our society: you must be rich, have a nice house, a nice car etc.. to be happy! What a disillusion when I weighed up my lifestyle; I decided to change direction. I called my brother Louis and asked him to help me get closer to Jesus. After a long conversation about my sin and on the meaning of the death of Christ on the cross, I prayed to God and asked Him to take my life and change it. In His love, He did that. he transformed me! It was a new life. Furthermore He offered me eternal life, setting me free form the fear of death.
That was six years ago and I have never regretted it. I have never wanted to go back. I am a child of God now and I live my life solely for His glory. God loves us. We can't do anything to earn His love, He just loves us. When we trust Him, we have nothing to fear. He does not point the finger at us, accusing us and looking at whether we deserve His friendship. It is the assurance of His love for us that sweeps our doubts away. We accept to rest in Him and totally trust Him. Knowing we have always been loved and always will be brings security and allows us to grow. Only love transforms.
One of Satan's greatest lies is that we can't trust God and we should take care of our lives ourselves. It is true that the hardest thing to do is to trust God and let Him take control. Giving up our imaginary independence is the only path towards freedom, joy and peace. Jesus did not come to bring us religion, but rather a relationship of love based on trust. In every situation and whatever the result, we must trust Him wholeheartedly, because all things work together for good for those who love God. **
* Book of Deuteronomy 18:10-14
** Book of Romans 8:28